Naps or night sleep? This is always a hot topic of conversation for new parents. Babies need sleep. Lots of it. The average newborn needs at least 12 hours of sleep per day to maintain a happy demeanor and develop on schedule. This can be broken up in a variety of ways to accommodate your schedule and his preferences.
Popular sleep site www.babysleepsite.com gives examples of various sleeping options:
As most of the articles on this site will say, this will depend on your baby and may take some trial and error, but here are some of my general guidelines and philosophies:
If your baby is sleeping longer than 12 hours at night, but barely napping during the day, I would absolutely shorten night sleep to achieve longer naps and “balance” your baby’s sleep. Wait, you want me to wake my baby? :O Yes, as much as I try to help our babies sleep, this would be one situation I would wake your baby. Ideally, this would be a short-term strategy and her body will then regulate. You may need to find the right schedule for your baby.
If your baby is sleeping just 10 hours (or less) at night, I consider this the minimum for all ages who likely frequent this site. Therefore, I would say the opposite, in this case, and say that if your baby is napping more than three hours per day, you should shorten naps to achieve more night sleep OR it’s time for a nap transition. If your baby is sleeping 10 hours or less and not napping much, then that is likely a different issue and you likely need to think about sleep training.
If your baby is sleeping 11-12 hours at night, then I consider this the ideal amount of night sleep and I would work on achieving a good balance of napping, respecting her sleep needs. What I mean by that is that if your baby averages 14 hours of sleep in a day, for example, and is sleeping 12 hours at night, don’t expect much more than two hours total during the day. Trying to push her to nap too much and you are liable to affect her night sleep and you will end up in a vicious cycle. If she thrives on just 11 hours of sleep at night, but more napping, that is good to know, too!
If you’re one tired Mommy like me you’ll be thankful when your precious little one decides to close his eyes during the day to rest. That means you can too! Forget the dishes and the dirty clothes. You’ll feel better after you get some much needed rest too. If you’re breastfeeding your body needs it as well. Drink plenty of water and sleep!
Baby Bryson is 2 months old today! Yaaaaay!! We kept a kid alive for 2 entire months. That’s 8 weeks. 60 full days. Yep 1,440 hours. I’m so proud of us! We didn’t do it completely on our own. When they say it takes a village that’s not a joke. My mom has been a massive help. She’s cooked, cleaned, rocked the baby, changed the baby and even let me sleep. I haven’t even gone back to work yet!! This adult child is spoiled.
It’s important to make sure your little loved one is reaching milestones at the right times. Don’t expect them to all happen at once but these are indications your child is on the right track eating and developing.
Here is a quick list of things to look for:
Social and Emotional skills:
begins to smile; especially at his/her parents
can briefly calm his/herself (can suck on fingers or hands to soothe)
moves head to look at parent(s)
Language and Communication:
coos and makes gurgling sounds
turns head towards sounds
Cognitive (Learning, Thinking, Problem-Solving):
pays attention to faces
begins to follow things with eyes
can recognize people at a distance
begins to act bored; gets fussy if activity doesn’t change
Movement and Physical Development:
can hold head up and begins to push up when lying on tummy
makes smoother movement with arms and legs
If you think your baby is lacking in any of these areas mention it to your pediatrician for tips on how to jumpstart the development.
As I write this I’m 33. Coincidentally a few weeks before we got pregnant my OB felt the need to have the awkward “Are you planning on having children?” conversation. 32 at the time, I said, “Sure someday but I’m in no big rush.” That was early April 2015. Fast forward a few weeks when we took a mini family trip to Las Vegas with the beau’s mom and best friend. Vegas is one of our favorite places to visit. The lights, the shows, the drinks, the music, the parties, the sex. Except no sex this time. It was my time of the month and my birth control had expired and not yet been renewed by my doctor. My mistake completely for slacking off. As our Vegas trip came to an end we ended up in St Marteen for 3 days and my little friend left. You can’t not have amazing sex when you’re in the Caribbean. The ocean, the sunsets, the food. So we did. Oops. You see where this is going. Surely one time can’t be enough to make it happen. He wasn’t worried at all. I knew it the second it happened. We made a baby. I could feel it. I know that’s weird and people probably think it’s bologna but sometimes you just know. You’re gut is trying to tell you something. Literally. Weeks passed and I bought two different at home tests that are supposed to be the best for early detection. Both were instantly positive. From the first drop of urine. I lost my shit. Not in a good way. All I could think was this is not the way I wanted to have a baby. I’m not married. I’m not engaged. Im selfish and definitely ill prepared to be somebody’s mommy. However, I don’t believe in the alternative. After many tears and hugs and don’t worry it’s going to be ok I set up the official doctor appointment to make sure these little plastic sticks were actually correct. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared in my life than the day we went into that office. I didn’t know what to expect. Part of me wanted to hear you’re not pregnant and part of me wanted the opposite. I was 32 at the time and in a loving, committed relationship with a good looking guy so why not. You don’t have to be married to have a baby. The technician was incredibly nice and poked that fake little penis inside me and there he was. An unformed little peanut sized child. My whole body instantly felt different. I am going to be a mommy. 8 weeks. 32 to go. Seems like a long time at that point but it sure has flown by.
As I sit here typing this I am 41 weeks and 6 days still waiting to meet this little guy that has stolen my heart and taught me so much already. I had an amazing first pregnancy. I didn’t get sick once. My ankles are the same size. I haven’t gained a lot of extra weight. My hair, skin and nails have looked awesome. I wore my normal clothes until the end of my 2nd trimester when things just became really uncomfortable where baby was at. I didn’t want zippers or elastic to hurt him in the womb. I say all of that to get to the really stressful part for me. The end. At week 38 I thought my water broke. I woke up one morning and couldn’t make it to the bathroom. There was fluid running down both legs to my feet. No smell, no color, just liquid. I called the doc and they said “oh yea come on to the hospital sounds like you’re having a baby.” Not quite. After hours of poking and prodding and monitoring I was sent home and told I peed on myself. Keep waiting, no baby today. I was so sore and exhausted from the false alarm I stopped working the next day. The extra stress from my job couldn’t be helping and was only making it worse for baby. I just knew he was going to arrive early. Nope, dead wrong. At week 40 our doctor checked me and I was still only 1cm. His suggestion was wait and come back the end of the week to do another ultrasound and maybe talk inducing then. We are super against inducing. We wanted a drug free natural labor and inducing starts a horrible cycle of drugs and pain medication. The doctor was willing to let me go 9 days past my due date since I was healthy and baby was healthy. We had a follow up appointment 3 days later. At the follow up we saw a different doctor that has very different feelings about going past due dates for various reasons that are all medically correct and decided to induce me earlier than expected. This was a Monday and he wanted to induce us Wednesday. The other doctor from our practice was willing to let us wait for natural labor and induce the following Monday. So, this was 5 days earlier. In the meantime I did everything possible to try and get baby out. We went for long walks, swam laps at our gym, ate the spiciest wings possible, ate pickles, had sex, squats, etc. Nothing worked. We were stalled at a green light. Wednesday comes around and the docs recommended I eat before we come in since you can’t have real food until after birth. As we were eating I get a call from the hospital telling me there are no available rooms due to unexpected arrivals. I was told we will call you when a bed opens. I was so thankful. That gave us extra time for natural labor to begin. The next morning we got the call to come on in. After arriving at the hospital and going through the painful (and long) check in process we see our original doctor who was unsure why I was there to be induced. He knew we wanted a natural birth and was ok letting us wait a few more days. He did an ultrasound to make sure baby and I were doing well and sent us back home. However, he did put an expiration date on arrival for 4 days later. If this baby didn’t show by Feb 1st I would be induced. For real. I took it easy this time hoping pure relaxation would bring this kid out. Still nothing. That Monday we found ourselves back at the hospital to be induced. This was not my plan and completely against everything I wanted. It took a great deal of mental strength to wrap my head around this process. The process started with inserting Cervadil overnight. I started having contractions about 4 hours later and they continued through the night. On a scale of 1 to 10 they were about a 4. The next morning the doc removed the insert and checked to see if I had dilated more. I was still about 4 centimeters. He agreed to continue without Pictocin since I was having contractions. The baby was doing good at this point and he said there was no medical reason to rush it yet. About 30 mins later while talking to my nurse my water broke. I was absolutely thrilled because that meant natural birth with no epidural was still possible! My water did have meconium in it so we were told the baby will have to immediately go to the NIC-U to be examined after birth. That shattered my heart into tiny pieces. This being my first the initial skin to skin contact was a high priority on my list and now that was being taken from me. My emotions were all over the place. The contractions were getting stronger which meant I should be dilating more. I wasn’t. Hours later I was still at 4 centimeters and the pain had increased to about a 6. The doctor and nurses started to worry because the baby’s heart rate was fluctuating every time I had a contraction. His head was also pressed down on my cervix which was causing compression on him. Things started to move incredibly fast and we had to make some very serious decisions. Because I was not dilating fast enough the chances of delivering vaginally were becoming slim. My choices became take the epidural and do this vaginally or risk it without and you may have an emergency C-section. I didn’t want the second choice. After conversing with my Mom and boyfriend we decided the epidural was the best option. I was scared to death. I didn’t want to do it but my baby’s life was dangling in my hands. After they gave me the epidural I literally couldn’t feel my legs. At all. When I needed to turn they had to move me. I was able to finally fall asleep at that point and rested for about 2 hours. When I woke up I had dilated to 8 centimeters. Pardon my French but at that point shit got real. The baby’s heart rate was still all over the place so they started giving me oxygen. The docs and nurses started preparing the room for birth. My doctor once again warned me if things didn’t go smooth with his heart we could have a C-section. I started mentally preparing myself to give this everything I’ve got. About an hour later we were ready to start pushing. I originally only wanted my boyfriend in the room. Thank God my Mom was still there because I needed them both to help. With my Mom on the left and my boyfriend on the right holding my legs we were ready to go. My doctor quickly reviewed the breathing techniques and counted down for the first set of pushes. I have never put that much force into anything in my entire life. Ever. I pushed 3 times and she asked if I could do a 4th because my contractions were still about 8 minutes apart. I did. A few minutes later we did it again. 4 pushes. The next one she saw hair. She asked me to push even harder on the next round. With every ounce of energy in my body I pushed so hard I felt like I might die. I closed my eyes and just prayed for this baby to come out healthy. That was almost it. On the 5th set of pushes he arrived. Quiet and with his eyes open! Our doctor suctioned his nose immediately in hopes to get any bacteria from his lungs before he cried. I was so exhausted I couldn’t focus completely. I remember seeing his little face before they took him to clean him and do the initial checks. Everything went very fast at that point. The doctor was still working on me and removed my placenta without a lot of pain. It still hurt and nobody really tells you this. A few minutes later we were able to hold him briefly before they took him to be checked and monitored for 4 hours. I had tried to imagine what this moment would feel like. You can’t until it happens. It’s so precious and beautiful. The moment you realize that you grew this new little person who needs you to survive is just irreplaceable in your heart. I couldn’t stop crying. When they took him away the room instantly felt cold and empty. I was there with my parents and a nurse. That was not the plan. About 30 minutes later they were ready to move me to our recovery room. On the way they took us to the NIC-U to see him. Everything was going great. No problems but they had to keep him for 4 hours. He was born at 8:53pm. We finally got him back in our arms around 1:30am. I held him the entire night. I watched him breathe for a solid 2 hours. I made this. Me. It’s pretty unbelievable. Until you’re actually able to hold and kiss him it doesn’t all make sense. I never understood what mothers meant when they said they felt whole until that moment. A larger part of me made sense. Not much else mattered except him. My mother gave me a card when she came to visit the next morning. It was a birth day card for Bryson. She wrote it was a birth day for me too. A new birth because I became a mother. I never thought of it like that before then. She was right (of course). I became a new person the second he took his first breath. I became his mommy.